With the 2011 NFL season is a couple weeks from kicking off, the anticipation is growing. Especially after being away from football for so long due to the lockout, I’m sure fans around the league can’t wait to get things rolling again.

In preparation of that, I’ve decided to start a season preview series discussing different aspects of each team in relation to their respective divisions.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

The AFC South has been predominantly run by the Indianapolis Colts for years now, as they’ve reigned division champs for seven of the past eight seasons and have made the playoffs every year since 1999 except for once. But that’s not to detract from the other teams as they’ve all had their impressive attempts at catching up with the Colts in some way or form. But is this the year someone actually does it?

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

For the first time ever, I legitimately question Maurice Jones-Drew’s durability due to his knee concerns. Moreover, I’m not sure how David Garrard will respond to their decision to draft Blaine Gabbert and whether the rookie will be ready to take over if need be. The rest of the team isn’t anything special, which is why

3. Tennessee Titans

I don’t know why everyone immediately forgets about the Titans. Matt Hasselbeck is a respectable veteran to be mentoring Jake Locker, and they’ll both have the luxury of handing the ball off to Chris Johnson. Defensively, their system has been stout over the years but losing Jason Babin and Stephen Tulloch will be difficult to overcome.

2. Houston Texans

I think this is where the division really takes off. The Jaguars and Titans are rebuilding, but the Texans are built to challenge the Colts now. We all know about their explosive offense and how they will put up points on the board with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. On the flip side, their struggles have lied on the defense and it’s inability to stop anything that moves. But under Wade Phillips and his newly implemented 3-4 base scheme, they should be much improved. Draft picks J.J. Watt and Reed Brooks along with Jonathon Joseph should upgrade every line of defense, and are a solid foundation to build around. The transition will be tough with the lockout, but if they can click somehow then be on the look out.

1. Indianpolis Colts

I don’t think it’s too far apart this year, but until the Texans can prove they have the defense to match their offense, the Colts are the kings of this division. Peyton Manning hasn’t been on top of his game lately, but he’s done rather well considering the type of supporting cast he’s played with. Receivers have been in and out, and he’s done a remarkable job helping young guys like Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and Jacob Tamme come along. On the flip side, they don’t have a standout defense by any means, which is what makes them so exposed to the Texans. But for now, I think it’s just enough to give them the slight edge. Just don’t expect the Colts to be legitimate title contenders until they fix out a few bugs.


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